August 11, 2013 in Features

American Life in Poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06
 

To capture an object in words is a difficult chore, but when it’s done exceptionally well, as in this poem by A. E. Stallings, I’d rather read the description than see the object itself. A. E. Stallings is an American poet living in Greece.

The Pull Toy

You squeezed its leash in your fist,

It followed where you led:

Tick, tock, tick, tock,

Nodding its wooden head.

Wagging a tail on a spring,

Its wheels gearing lackety-clack,

Dogging your heels the length of the house,

Though you seldom glanced back.

It didn’t mind being dragged

When it toppled on its side

Scraping its coat of primary colors:

Love has no pride.

But now that you run and climb

And leap, it has no hope

Of keeping up, so it sits, hunched

At the end of its short rope

And dreams of a rummage sale

Where it’s snapped up for a song,

And of somebody – somebody just like you –

Stringing it along.

Poem copyright 2012 by A. E. Stallings from “Five Points, Vol. 14, no. 3,” and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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